Navigating Identity: Therapy for Black LGBT+ Teens & Young Adults

black lgbt teens and young adults can benefit from therapy tailored to fit their unique intersectionality of strengths and challenges; empower counseling specializes in complex trauma and anxiety and offers EMDR therapy to help

In the interwoven web of diverse human identities, the experiences of Black LGBT+ teens and young adults stand at a unique intersection of race, sexuality, and gender identity/presentation. This intersectionality shapes their journey in profound and often challenging ways, molding identities in the face of societal norms, cultural expectations, and personal growth.

For Black LGBTQ+ folks, the experience of being a double minority magnifies the challenges they encounter. Not only do they navigate the complexities of sexual orientation or gender identity as they develop into the person they know themselves to be, but they also confront systemic racism and racial prejudice for the skin they were born into and had no say in receiving. This dual identity can lead to feelings of isolation in both LGBTQ+ spaces and Black communities, as each may struggle to fully embrace or understand the nuances of their intersectional identities.

This, of course, rolls over into the experiences that Black LGBTQ+ youth and young adults face within their families of origin, as the cultural expectations within Black communities may cause clashes about traditional views and values in regards to sexuality and gender roles, leading to rejection and even strained relationships with loved ones. Religious beliefs, which hold considerable influence in many Black households, can further complicate acceptance and support networks as these families reevaluate what it means to express love and acceptance for their LGBTQ+ identifying family member within the context of religion’s powerful influences.

It is an understatement to simply say that existing daily within the context of these complex, intersectional identities in a society that was not developed for people outside of the eurocentric, heteronormative, cisgender norm can take a toll on one’s mental health. It is normal and unfortunately, even somewhat to be expected, for Black LGBTQ+ youth and young adults to experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation by comparison to their White, non-LGBTQ+ peers. Discrimination, microaggressions, and the constant need to navigate multiple identities contribute to a sense of hypervisibility and vulnerability.

Therapy can play a crucial role in supporting Black LGBTQ+ youth and young adults as they navigate the complexities of their intersectional identities and the impacts on their mental health. It offers a confidential space where Black LGBTQ+ individuals can express themselves authentically without fear of judgment or discrimination to address stressors and traumatic experiences that are specific to their intersectional identities. For youth in particular, therapy serves as not only a confidential space but a supportive space as they explore different aspects of their sexuality and identity. Therapists also have the ability to support clients in identifying and building supportive networks, and this can include connecting clients with affirming social groups, organizations, or other communities where they can find solidarity, acceptance, and belonging.

Ultimately, therapy can empower Black LGBTQ+ youth and young adults to cultivate self-acceptance, resilience, and personal growth. By fostering a deeper understanding of themselves and their place in the world, they can navigate challenges with greater confidence and agency, and I feel confident to be the Black, LGBTQ+ affirming therapist you need to get you started on your journey towards healing, emotional resilience, confidence, and self-acceptance. Schedule a phone consultation with me today, and let’s discuss how I can best support you!

4411 Suwanee Dam Road, Suite 450
Suwanee, GA 30024

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